Monday, May 23, 2011

Mother Blessing

A couple of months ago I met with another Doula who filled me in on the details of a Mother Blessing.  Before talking with her I had actually never heard of this before.  I of course knew about baby showers, and had even heard of Sprinkles (like a mini baby shower for women who had already had a baby and the ritual baby shower for the first born, and was thrown a party for the second or third etc.).  At a baby shower the momma gets to have a party for her baby with cake, games, and lots of newborn presents!  A mother blessing is quite different!
This ceremony actually came from the navajo indians, and is called a Blessingway.  The celebration is for the mom, to show support and give positive energy for the upcoming birth of a new life.  There are a lot of things that can be incorporated into this ceremony.  Some ideas include: lighting candles, the gift of beads from each guest to make a necklace, positive letters to the mom for her to read, quotes or affirmations that can be written on cloth and formed into a quilt like blanket, bellycasting, yarn used to connect all the women in attendance and cut off into bracelets that are worn until the momma gives birth.  

I just threw a Mother Blessing for my older sister with help from my younger sister and mom.  She is having her third baby, and we wanted to do something special for her.  We had about 20 women there on a Saturday night.  We had a potluck with lots of yummy food and deserts.  The main dish was lasagna.  Close family was invited along with the momma's closest friends (2 of which are pregnant with their second babies!)  This party was a surprise and when I showed up with her everybody was already there waiting.  When we walked in there was a house full of the women she loved the most, most who were moms themselves.  Throughout the party she heard stories of the women's own children through casual conversation which she said later that she really enjoyed.  We ate dinner, then started the ceremony off with the giving of the beads.  Each person brought a bead that they thought was unique, or reminded them of her.  She walked around with a piece of jewelry wire and each person strung their bead.  Afterward we had each woman write their positive affirmation or inspirational quote onto a piece of purple (her favorite color) cloth that we will be making into a blanket.  Then each person gave her their letter for her to read later.  We then continued to talk and laugh and just enjoy each other's company.  The night was a success and a very positive experience for her to remember, where everyone came to support and love her.  I think it was just what she needed!
Below are some pictures of the beautiful bead strand that we created for her.

Here are some links to read more about mother blessings.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Update on my Healthful Eating

I have been eating more healthy for a month so far, and have increased my energy and I feel better!  I exercise by walking a few times a week for 45min to 1hr, and I also do yoga 3-4 times a week.  I actually decreased my exercise because before this month I was running 3-4 times a week for 4-5 miles.  Yoga by the way has really been helpful for releasing stress, and I think that has helped in all of this.

Here are some more details about the food that I'm eating, and the food that I'm not eating as much of:
1. I drink a lot of water and the first thing I do in the morning is drink half of my 32oz. jug.
2. I get all of my servings of fruit in the morning with my breakfast smoothie.
3. I eat a lot of vegetables by making them my main course for lunch and dinner.
4. I'm eating as organic and natural as I can.
5. I only eat lean meats, tuna fish, and deer and in smaller amounts.
6. I have Greek yogurt everyday.
7. I have cut out almost all sugar besides the occasional desert.
8. I eat brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and whole wheat breads and tortilla shells.
9. I cut out all thicker salad dressing, and use Balsamic Breeze Salad Spritzer and jalapeno hummus.
10. I eat almonds as a morning or afternoon snack and put boiled eggs on my salads.
11. I only drink half of a cup of coffee a day and I add milk to it.

Here is an example of what I eat in a day:
Breakfast-half of my jug of water, half a cup of coffee with milk, and a fruit smoothie
Morning snack-whole wheat english muffin with natural peanut butter and more water or orange juice
Lunch-salad with a lot of vegetables on it, two slices of whole wheat sandwich thins or a whole wheat tortilla with hummus on them, and water
Afternoon snack-almonds and/or Greek yogurt with Kashi granola, and more water
2nd Afternoon snack-banana, orange juice, boiled egg, or a piece of toast with jelly.
Dinner-1/2 of a chicken breast, brown rice, a lot of steamed vegetables, and water.

This is what I put in my smoothie: some mix of fruit (banana, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), a couple of tablespoons of plain greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons of Wheat Germ (found by the oatmeal), and either a little bit of soymilk or orange juice.

Another breakfast example is oatmeal (regular) with blended raspberries or strawberries in it.  It tastes like Strawberry Shortcake to me!

Some more dinner ideas are homemade pizza with whole wheat crust and lots of vegetables and pineapples on it (especially good with homemade sauce), whole wheat spaghetti with fresh homemade tomato sauce, stir fry vegetables(easy on the soy sauce) with pineapple and turkey, whole wheat salad and vegetable wraps with jalapeno hummus, deer meatloaf loaded with vegetables, cottage cheese and asparagus.

Homemade spaghetti, pizza, or pasta sauce recipe:
Ingredients- 7 tomatoes, 1/3 of a large onion diced, 1/2 green pepper diced, 1/2 yellow pepper diced, 1/2 red pepper blended, oregano, basil, 1 clove of minced garlic, peppercorn, salt, 2Tbs. sugar, virgin olive oil
Directions: 1. Get your ingredients ready 2. Peel the tomatoes-boil water and place a couple of the tomatoes in it for 1 minute. Then place them directly into a bowl of ice cold water. The skin peels right off. 3. Put a tbs. or just enough olive oil in the bottom of a pan. Heat it and then add the Garlic and heat for about a minute. 4. Add in the tomatoes and mash them. 5. Add in the rest of your ingredients and stir together. 6. Simmer over low heat for 1 or 2 hours or whenever it looks thick enough. (The water evaporates as you heat it)
Tastes so yummy over whole wheat spaghetti noodles. I also made my own garlic bread with whole wheat english muffins toasted with a tiny bit of honey butter and sprinkled with italian cheese.

For the vegetables in my salads I chop red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, green bell peppers, orange bell peppers, onions, celery, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  I also slice a boiled egg on it, add almonds, then top it with my salad spritzer balsamic dressing.  

Today I put my jeans on that I haven't been able to fit into in 2.5 years.  I have had two babies in less than two years and I am back in my old jeans.  This was just a perk by the way, since losing weight was not one of my goals.  I also am still nursing Glory, which I know helps with burning calories.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Risks of a cesarean (a Major Abdominal Surgery), and ways to prevent it

In my paperwork it says under plan for cesarean: Patient was advised there is a risk including, but not limited to, potential for anesthetic complications, bleeding, transfusion of blood or blood products, infection, possibility of damage to bowel, bladder, blood vessels, nerves, or other structures.  

Some other risks include: a higher risk of maternal mortality, scar tissue can form inside the pelvic area which increases the risks for placenta previa or placental abruption during pregnancy, having one cesarean puts a woman at risk for other surgeries such as hysterectomy, bladder repair, or repeat cesareans.

There are also risks to the baby such as: premature birth if the due date was not correct and a cesarean was scheduled, an increased risk for respiratory problems, lower apgar scores, and the possibility that the baby can be cut by the knife used for the incision

Please go to
for more details on the risks of cesareans.

Normally when you read the possible side effects of a drug or procedure it is listed as occurring rarely.  Please be aware that some of these side effects in cesareans ARE NOT that rare.  I'm not trying to scare anyone, and I am thankful for cesarean in certain situations, but these are very serious complications that should be known before a decision is made.  Please do your research, and make an educated decision before you are put in this position.  If you are not planning a cesarean you should still make yourself aware of the possibilities.  The cesarean rate in the United States is 33%.  This means that 1 in every 3 women having babies are by cesarean.  Those are high odds.  

Here are some ways that you can prevent a cesarean: 
1. Find a provider who still believes in vaginal birth!  Find someone who agrees with you and your wishes for your birth.  Ask them what there cesarean rate is, and if its over 15% you might want to rethink your options.
2. Get Educated!  This is really really important.  Read as much as you can about childbirth, all the options for pain relief (natural and medical) and find out the risks, read birth stories.
3. Learn about positions that you can use during labor to help turn a baby into the right position or help speed up progression.
4. Find good support!  Having your partner or a family member there can be very comforting, but not always helpful because they are not used to seeing you in pain or uncomfortable.  Hiring a trained labor assistant (doula) can be very beneficial for natural pain relieving techniques, ways to progress labor, to help you understand what each medical procedure is, and to help you use your voice during your labor so that you can be active in the decision making process.  A doula can also help your partner or family member be active in giving you comfort during your labor.  Studies have shown that having a doula decreases the risk for cesareans by over 25%.  

My Medical Records...

I finally received my medical records today from the hospital.  I requested the records for both of my babies births about two months ago.  I actually had forgotten that I was supposed to be getting them because it took so long.  Anyway, it is interesting to read about your own hospital experience in the eyes of the medical personnel.  I read a few things that were supposedly done that I wasn't aware of, and it leaves me wondering if they made a mistake in the notes or if I was just never aware that it ever happened.  I would like to think it was a written mistake considering that it makes me nervous to know that things were done to me without even realizing it!  Its not that I think they are trying to do something to hurt me or anything, its just that I would rather be an active participant in my medical care.  I know that isn't everyones choice, but it is definitely mine.  Supposedly for my son's birth I had an intrauterine pressure catheter inserted into my uterus alongside of my son's head.  This is something they use to monitor contraction strength.  It is used usually with induction or when pitocin is administered to make sure the contractions aren't too strong.  Although I haven't read of many serious contraindications, there is an increased risk of infection and an increased risk of injury to the baby if administered wrong.  I also read that Glory had tachycardia which means increased heart rate.  I was never told this as far as I know, and the notes said that she was intolerant to labor, which sounds to me that I just needed to change positions.
There were also some words I didn't recognize such as, ecchymoses, which means bruising appearance under the skin.  This was in the notes of my discharge papers about my incision area.  I'm guessing many women who have a cesarean have this considering the procedure in general.  Overall I didn't really learn a whole lot that I didn't already know except that the word failed still hurts.

Preoperative Diagnosis #1
1. Failure to progress
2. Persistant occipitoposterior presentation

Preoperative Diagnosis #2
1. Failure to progress in labor
2. Meconium
3. Probable underlying chorioamnionitis with low grade maternal fever and fetal tachycardia
4. Failed VBAC

Sounds a little like a disease diagnosis doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Your birth stories

Your birth stories will be showing up on my other blog.  Here is the address:   There is already a story up there so you should check it out!  Oh, and send me yours of course :)

Glory Reign Wakeland November 13th 2010-pics

Brayve Anthony Wakeland July 9th 2009-Pics

Your Birth Stories

I was thinking today about some of you who have sent me messages and briefly told me about the births of your babys, and I realized that I was left wondering about the rest!  Studies have shown that most women feel the need to talk about their experiences with birth, and I know that most women also like to hear about other women's experiences.  Okay, now here is your chance!  Spill it mommas, and dads if you would like to share your side of the experience!  Help educate others because each of your stories is unique and I guaranteed something can be learned by someone from your story.
Here is what I'm asking you to do:
Tell me your story or stories if you would like to share multiples.  I want to hear it whether its long or short,  good or bad, old or new!  Share what you are comfortable with, and if you aren't comfortable sharing at all than don't, but feel free to read.  If you don't want anybody to see it but me post it in my inbox and tell me not to share.  If you would like to share and help educate everyone else with your story than let me know that it is okay to share, or if you want me to share but omit your name let me know that too.  You can either post it in my facebook inbox and I can transfer it onto here or you can send me a message on this (but honestly I don't know how that works since I'm new so if you can figure it out go for it).  If you haven't given birth then try asking your mom to tell you the story of your own birth!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Vegetables. Vegetables, Vegetables… I feel great by the way!

It has been exactly a week since I started my new way of eating.  I'm surprised I got through that first week as easily as I did actually.  I knew that I loved sugar, and ate a lot of it but didn't realize how much I ate until I really stopped and thought about it.

Before, I would start the day with 3tsp of sugar in my coffee along with something for breakfast that I'm sure most of the time had sugar in it.  Then for lunch I would usually have a wrap or sandwich or something with a lot of sauce or dressing on it.  After lunch or mid afternoon I always craved something sweet so I would eat a handful of chocolate chips.  For dinner I would have a pretty healthy meal usually but then I almost always had something sweet sometime before I went to bed at night.  My favorite snack was a teacup of chocolate chips melted with peanut butter in it and I would eat that by the spoonful!  Anyway, my policy was chocolate every day!  I also, thought my diet was pretty good which is mostly true, but I definitely wasn't getting enough vegetables and some days went without.  I wasn't eating fast food or anything really greasy, fried, or really high in fat.  I drink a ton of water and always have.  I have always liked lean meats, and only eat whole wheat bread and rice, but the sugar was just out of control.

Now, I eat vegetables as the main part of my meal for lunch and dinner.  I snack on yogurt, almonds, and fruit throughout the day.  If I have a whole wheat wrap it only has lettuce and vegetables in it with hummus (jalapeno hummus=YUM)  For breakfast if I even drink coffee its half a cup and only has some soy milk in it (no sugar), and I eat oatmeal with a little bit of soy milk and fresh blended fruit in it for flavor.  I'm actually going to be adding a smoothie in for my afternoon snack or breakfast now that will have whatever fruit I want, orange juice or soy milk, and plain greek yogurt.

I used to have stomach cramps here and there and sometimes get heartburn (probably from all the chocolate!)  For the first three days without the sugar I had headaches and felt really tired.  I'm still having some after affects of being tired, but I'm slowly regaining my real energy, not the artificial sugar boost.  I feel really healthy, and happy!  This is also good for my family because Glory eats what I eat through breastmilk, and Brayve is getting a lot more good stuff.  He is really picky and wont eat vegetables besides the occasional cooked carrots and only eats bananas sometimes.  Now, I take a day to clean, cook, and blend a lot of fruits and vegetables so he is getting a lot of things hidden in his food throughout the week.  Oh, and its all organic!

I know some of you are probably wondering if I have lost weight.  I wish I could tell you, but I don't own a scale!